IWSG Day and a Blog Hop with Chrys Fey!

Today is Insecure Writer's Support Group Day!

Ths month's question:
“Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be.”
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

I have!
I never thought I'd be writing contemporary stories, and suddenly, during the past few NaNoWriMos, I've written four of them!

Today is also a blog hop day for Chrys Fey!

Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!

When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:

  • Writer's block
  • Depression
  • Writer's burnout
  • What a writer doesn’t need to succeed
  • Finding creativity boosts

With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love - writing.

Book links:

Amazon Nook iTunes Kobo


About the author: Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips on how to reverse writer’s burnout: https://www.chrysfey.com/.

For the blog hop we're sharing stories about writer's block, depression and/or burnout
and how we overcame it or what we're currently doing to heal.

Here's me on the Round of Words in 80 Days blog, going through many suggestions:
"We’ve all got our own methods for barrelling through the day. Some of us make lists, some of us have reminder apps, some of us keep all our errands and tasks in our heads. When you’re writing, some days the words flow and sing, and when you’re editing, some days you’re so excited that you can feel the s***ty first draft words turning to smooth, well placed sentences under your fingers.

At other times, between real life and lack of confidence, every word sounds stupid and clichéd and nothing your characters say seems plausible or remotely exciting. The best cure for that, of course, is to go out and live life for a while. Step away from the page and interact with others. Do something fun and unexpected!

For those times when you can’t do that – faced with a deadline or the need to by-gum-get-things-done – I’ve got a few tips and tricks that have helped me

Read poetry, especially something that’s written in a style completely unlike what you’re used to reading or writing. Penning a dark urban mystery? Read some Gerard Manley Hopkins. Creating a lyrical literary masterpiece? Browse some Bukowski. The contrast, and the 360 way of looking at the same old world, tends to jump start your creativity.

Research. Not in a long-term, leading to procrastination way, but in fits and starts. What’s the view from the castle at Naples? A two second Google image search. Can you use coltsfoot in stew? Another split second search. Don‎’t get distracted by photos of the Italian countryside or delicious recipes. Search, find the answer, return to the manuscript. Done! Hopefully, that’ll satisfy any urge you might have had to click over to Facebook…

Plan for writing time. “Today I will write from 1 to 3 pm.” Watch your writing time get eaten up by family demands, freelancing, household tasks, what have you. Get mad. Write anyway, even if you lose an hour’s sleep.

Go out of your comfort zone. I love writing at home, listening to my own music, accompanied by cats. Yet I get a lot more work done when I wake early and head to the coffee shop, where they play music that I can’t stand and where there’s always the possibility of overhearing ridiculous conversations (“So, like, I told him not to do that, but then he did, and I was all, how could you, and you know what my therapist says…”).

Last but not least…

Read. Write. Don’tStop. Don’tcompareyourselftoothers. There’snohurry. ChangePOVs. Writeinstreamofconsciousnesstoexploreacharacter . DrinkcoffeeStopreadingalltheso-calledrulesaboutwriting.
Idleawaybythinkingofchaptertitlesorcharacternamesorbynamingashipcardoggoldfish. Siptea. Thinkaboutyourstorywhilewalkingshoweringbicycling. Re-readafavouritebookorlistentoafavouritealbum. Playagame. Daleks! Tellittosomeoneelse.
Ignoreitandgowatchamovie. Eat. Blog. Exercise. Putyourantagoniststogether. Stopfocusingonbooksales-yourownorothers’. Have fun!"

But of all those, I've got one favourite method for overcoming writer's block: a characters' houseparty!

Here's a bit of my guest post on Kait Nolan's blog, talking about a couple of the earliest houseparties (these two were set in Cherry Hill, Georgia, present day, and Constantiople, 1492):
"Kick Start Your Writing

Sooner or later, most of us get bogged down in the middle bits of a novel and find our drive and attention dwindling as fear and self-doubt creep in – even Nathan Bransford.

This happened to me not just with a novel but with all my writing in the last few years. I played up the usual excuses but forced myself to keep writing – and researching – anyhow. Something was wrong somewhere, though, for the excitement was few and far between, left behind a year or so before when I’d started the first draft. Researching grew more exciting than editing and it was easy to lose my characters’ voices and slip into long stretches of expository omniscient telling. And then something happened…

I sent my characters off to another houseparty.

One or the other of them had previously participated in the writers’ houseparties that take place on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community; there have been eight such parties to date and I – and my characters – were present at the very first one in June 2007. Each party after that grew in size and complexity, as more writers joined in the fun, bringing their characters to interact with the characters of other members, who all come from varying places and time periods. Houseparties are a great way to thrust your characters out of their familiar worlds and learn things about them that you may not have known before. Writing for a houseparty is just like writing your first draft – fast paced and fluid, with no second guessing; anything goes at a houseparty, from magic to skipping between time periods, to anachronistic events and language, to romantic interludes…

The last such party took place in July and was hosted by ZanMarie. Some magical combination of the setting (Cherry Hill, Georgia, Fourth of July 2008), the other characters that arrived at the party (courtesy of Adderbury and Claire and many other authors) and my rediscovery of the romance genre, brought back the rush and the fun I’d lost. I’ve churned out more words in the past two months than I had managed to squeeze out all year!"
Head on over for the full post, which talks a bit about how to play.

What are some of your methods for overcoming writer's block?


Hi Deniz - well done on your story writing utilising Nano. Chrys has done really well and this book of Chrys will be so helpful to many. Take care - Hilary
That's great! Keep writing.
Jemi Fraser said…
House parties! Great idea - and one I will try!
Love that your NaNo stories have been contemporaries - it's so much fun when our stories pull us in new directions!
Daleks made me smile :)
Chrys Fey said…
A character house party...I love that. I wrote parties/dinners with my cast of characters for a couple of my books and enjoyed them so much, so this idea sounds like fun.

Thank you so much for participating in my blog hop!
Tamara Narayan said…
I've sent my muse to a blog hop party a time or two. It was fun.

Thanks for all the ideas!
I've done the one at the coffee shop - writing down bits of dialogue from other people and using that as a writing prompt. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks to the bluntness of a book distributor in telling me that my paranormal romance was not marketable (I died that day), I tried my hand in writing realistic fiction. I've written many of them along with other genres: historical, thriller ... Change can hurt but the results can be beautiful!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks everyone! I miss when we used to do more blog hop flash fiction pieces. I need to start participating in WriteEditPublish more often!
Jacqui Murray said…
I love reading how NaNo got books not only started but finished. Good post.
Chemist Ken said…
Glad to hear NaNo made you productive. I wish I could write quickly enough for that to be the case with me.
I love your comment about Research. Some people research to the point they never get anything done. Don't get me wrong, well-researched historical is certainly excellent, but if you never finish your writing, what was the point?

I like to do as little research as possible, and get back to the story. Sometimes I'll even just put in a note to myself "LOOK THIS UP LATER," just so I can finish the scene without losing the flow.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks, all!
I've definitely used research as a way to procrastinate. One thing I try to do is avoid novels set in the time period in which I'm writing, so that I don't inadvertently pick up nuances. Non-fiction only! After I've done as much editing as I can, then it's fun to see what other authors have done!
Toi Thomas said…
Thank you for sharing your form answer and your tips. I managed, with much effort and intent, to write one romcom novel more than 3 years ago. Still trying to do another one. It's hard because it's not the genre I usually write or read the most.
I love your idea of the character house party. I'll have to try that.
Carol Kilgore said…
I've seen Chris and her book all around blog world this week. Sounds like the perfect book to help us keep our heads screwed on straight and keep writing.
dolorah said…
That was a LOT of words, lol. I like many of your ideas, especially tipping the characters, and author, over and into unfamiliar territory. My characters may love the house party idea too much though.
Deniz Bevan said…
I hope you all - I mean, your characters! - can join in the next house party!